Favorite Universal Monster movie

Discussion in 'Site Polls' started by rhett, Mar 10, 2013.

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What's your favorite original Universal Monster movie?

Poll closed Apr 10, 2013.
  1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

    2 vote(s)
    2.7%
  2. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

    2 vote(s)
    2.7%
  3. Dracula (1931)

    3 vote(s)
    4.1%
  4. Frankenstein (1931)

    24 vote(s)
    32.9%
  5. The Mummy (1932)

    1 vote(s)
    1.4%
  6. The Invisible Man (1933)

    7 vote(s)
    9.6%
  7. The Wolf Man (1941)

    12 vote(s)
    16.4%
  8. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

    22 vote(s)
    30.1%
  1. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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    Enjoy them all, but love the following in this order:

    The Wolf Man
    Frankenstein
    Creature from the Black Lagoon
    The Invisible Man
     
  2. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    He's just so hammy he seems like he wandered in from a different film. The rest of the film has such a somber vibe. He really clashes with that mood. The fact that he looks old enough to be Colin Clive's grandfather doesn't help either.

    A lot of the lower profile Universal releases from the 30s and 40s suffer from poorly conceived comic relief (Werewolf Of London and The Mummy's Hand are 2 good examples). I suspect Kerr's character was meant to be funny (as Whale's later horror films all feature a great deal of humor). But for me at least, his performance doesn't work at all.
     
  3. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    He seems fairly accurate of a certain type of grandfather and so for me he never really stood out. His personality is also great justification for moving certain plot points along.

    Frankenstein has a lot of great little comedy moments, I think Fritz pulling up his sock on the stairwell is a favorite of mine. Also when he takes the lid of the brain jar before stealing it. There's a lot of weird little things like that in there that work well even today.

    Dwight Frye is really great in Dracula too. His laugh is so singular. Browning's Dracula is too easily cast aside. The ensemble cast is quite excellent. Admittedly I'm not sure it would make my top 5 Universals but there's something more to it then people are willing to admit.

    For me though Chaney's hard luck act really wears thin like in The Wolfman. Most of the time he's playing the kind of jerk I'd walk an extra mile around to try and avoid. But when he does the kind of performance like in Spider Baby I really do feel for him.
     
  4. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    He does seem accurate as a grandfather. But he's supposed to be Henry's FATHER. For me that strains belief more than the more fantastic elements of the story. Picture how much less affecting the father/son dynamic in The Wolf Man would be if Kerr was cast instead of Raines.

    I understand how you feel about Chaney. Larry Talbot becomes pretty insufferable in the sequels. I still think he's on the right side of sympathetic in the original. It's a difficult role--far more demanding than the leads in most of these films. I think it's a damn fine performance.
     
  5. Copyboy

    Copyboy Member

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    Went with Frankenstein but it's always a close call between that and the original Wolf Man. I love Chaney's performance and some of the cinematography is beautiful but Karloff's performance is absolutely brilliant. As I child I only saw him as a monster and never realized he was a sympathetic character. Seeing the movie in my 20s was like seeing it for the very first time whereas with The Wolf Man, I remember feeling sorry for Larry Talbot even as a child.
     
  6. old-boo-radley

    old-boo-radley They stay the same age...

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    I came in here to ponder the same thing, as the one person out of 51 now who voted Dracula was I! :lol:
     
  7. Jack Grendel

    Jack Grendel Member

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    Make that two Bela Lugosi all the way!!!!
     
  8. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Yeah, the later roles could have tainted my view of the original. I can't recall ever really being a Wolf Man fan to begin with. (I was a regular Franky fan) Plus Evelyn Ankers didn't much like Chaney as according to her he couldn't seem to keep his hands to himself. So now whenever I watch those two together it makes me somewhat uncomfortable; that doesn't leave much to enjoy beyond the excellent production design.

    Not to turn this into a Chaney bash, I'll also say he's excellent with Abbot and Costello. His comic timing in the locker room sequence and ability to play off them probably makes that his all time best scene. They say being the straight man is toughest and he nails it. Plus he's now parodying his earlier performances which makes it easier to go with. It's unfortunate we didn't get many other comedic roles like Spider Baby.
     
  9. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Tom Weaver has plenty to say about Chaney and Ankers in The Wolf Man commentary. I was amazed to hear how much they disliked each other. They show a lot of chemistry together and really sell some scenes that could have induced groans or laughs. That said, I understand what you're saying 100%. Their relationship anchors the film. And if those scenes don't work for you it isn't nearly as involving.

    I've always loved A & C Meet Frankenstein. That locker room scene is really classic stuff.

    "When the moon rises I'll turn into a wolf."

    "Yeah, you and 20 million other guys!"

    If Chaney wasn't such an effective straight man the jokes in that film wouldn't be nearly as effective. I love the fact that both he and Lugosi play things deadly straight throughout that movie (Strange too, but his part is practically a cameo). Despite the additional years Lugosi is so good as Dracula that it depresses me that Universal hosed him and cast John Carradine in the House of... flicks. It's a true shame that Lugosi got so few opportunities to act in quality projects. Even in the most piss-poor Monogram productions he brought something special to the table.

    It makes me happy to see how many of you guys appreciate the Universal classics. Most people I know don't get them at all. Their loss.
     
  10. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Wasn't Lugosi &/or Chaney opposed to Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein because the film made light of the characters? I know it's bizarre, but I always loved the look of Glenn Strange's Monster in that film. I know his performance was wooden, but he just looked so damn cool. In fact, my favorite of all the moments in all of the Frankenstein films was when Strange's fist busts through the door and grabs Lou Costello by the side of the head followed by him knocking the door down. Good stuff.
     
  11. ronnie21

    ronnie21 Well-Known Member

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    Mines the funhouse monster.
     
  12. Cooperkill

    Cooperkill Member

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    Frankenstein, Bride of Franenstein and Son of Frankenstein are some of my favorite old, old, old school horror movies.

    As for those not voting for Dracula, good for you. I think the character's blood sucking gimmick is more memorable than anything that takes place around him.
     
  13. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Well now, that's not entirely true. While Lugosi was over the top in his performance, he managed to scare the hell out of the audiences of the day. The Renfield and Van Helsing characters were vital in holding the movie together. Other than Christopher Lee, I haven't been able to accept anyone else in the role of Dracula.
     
  14. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    I think it was Karloff.
     
  15. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    That's right. Karloff didn't want to tarnish the image of Frankenstein by appearing as the monster in a comedy. Physically I don't think he could do it anymore due to all the back issues the part caused him in the past. I know that Karloff was part of the publicity of the film since he was still under contract with Universal. Still I could have sworn that Lugosi and/or Chaney also had reservations about their roles in the film.
     
  16. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    More and more of them are popping up on Netflix: Watch Instant, so I'm going to watch Invisible, Mummy, and Bride soon.

    So far, I thought The Wolf Man was the best.
     

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